Andrews takes his turn as Seahawks continue O-line shuffle

RENTON, Wash. -- Eventually, Pete Carroll would like to see continuity with the Seattle Seahawks' offensive line.

That's not likely to arrive until first-round draft pick Russell Okung returns from a high ankle sprain suffered during the preseason. Until then, the Seahawks will continue to shuffle their front line in the hopes of finding some stability and better production from the running game.

"I think our best football is down the road. And that's something that I'm excited to see happen and come about," Carroll said Wednesday. "I think as we grow, maybe it takes four or five weeks to really know where we are with the front and how we can run the football and all of that."

Seattle's major change up front this week is the inclusion of veteran Stacy Andrews, acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles less than two weeks ago. Andrews will start at right guard Sunday in Denver, replacing Max Unger, who is done for the season with a toe injury.

Unger was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and will need surgery to repair a severe turf toe injury in his left foot. Unger, who was wearing a protective boot in the Seahawks' locker room Monday, will need three months of rehabilitation following the surgery.

Unger's injury also leaves Seattle with just two of the five offensive linemen expected when training camp began to be starters. Okung is out again this week, and Ben Hamilton, signed as a free agent from the Denver Broncos during the offseason, was a backup for last weekend's season-ending victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

The shuffling still might not be done. Gibson suffered a lower-back strain against San Francisco, leading Hamilton to take most of the snaps. Carroll said Wednesday he's not sure who will start in Denver, although Gibson fully participated in Wednesday's practice.

Andrews was brought to Seattle from Philadelphia after his highly regarded offseason pickup by the Eagles following the 2008 season. He started just two games in 2009 and has said in the past that he's more comfortable playing tackle than guard.

"He gives us an experienced player that has to adapt very quickly to our system and our scheme," Carroll said. "We were hoping it (would be) a couple weeks from now, he would have some time to learn what's going on. He's just on a racehorse pace to try and figure it out now."

Okung, Seattle's $58 million investment as the replacement for Walter Jones at left tackle, started running on a treadmill this week, but the timetable for his return remains unknown. The Seahawks also are trying to work in veteran Chester Pitts, who was believed to be a candidate to fill in while Okung is out. Carroll said Wednesday that when Pitts returns from microfracture knee surgery, he'll work at guard.

Tyler Polumbus will make his second consecutive start at left tackle Sunday, and the Seahawks on Tuesday brought back Mansfield Wrotto, who has played guard and tackle for the team.

"We have some flexibility now," Carroll said.

Whatever the offensive line ultimately looks like Sunday against the Broncos, it will be asked to do a better job in the running game. Seattle rushed for just 77 yards in the opener, 48 of those coming on the final possession.

"You're trying to jell, so your communication has to be better. It's not the same as a line that's been together for five or six years," Seahawks running back Leon Washington said. "We all help each other out and all sticking behind each other. It's not just the offensive line, but the backs have to do a good job of setting up their blocks so the offensive line can make their blocks correctly. It all has to work together."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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